A spring snowstorm socked the Minnesota River Valley with several inches of snow late Friday and Saturday, making roads treacherous for much of the day and prompting a flood warning in southwestern Minnesota’s Redwood County.

As the snow tapered off in early afternoon, the National Weather Service in Chanhassen reported 11 inches had fallen in St. James, 10 in Albert Lea and Marshall, 9 in Redwood Falls, 5.2 in Austin and 4 inches in Ortonville.

The snow and brisk winds created hazardous road conditions across much of southwestern Minnesota, the state Department of Transportation reported.

Numerous crashes and spinouts were reported along Interstate 90 during the height of the storm.

It was slow going in much of Iowa, too, where even more snow fell.

From midnight Friday to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, there were 18 crashes and 65 accidents in which vehicles went off the road or spun out on Minnesota roads, according to the State Patrol.

One injury, but no fatalities, was reported.

In the Twin Cities metro area and much of southeastern Minnesota, no snow fell despite forecasts earlier in the week for heavy snow in parts of those areas.

The Weather Service had warned that the “snow gradient” might shift at the last moment, and it did.

“It’s tough to forecast on the edges,” Weather Service meteorologist Eric Ahasic said Friday. “You can go from 10 inches to no snow in a span of 20 miles. It can be so localized.”

The Weather Service tweeted Friday night that the situation was “boring in the metro … anything but boring in southern and western Minnesota.”

As with most March snowstorms, a rapid melt is likely, prompting at least one open-ended flood warning Saturday in Redwood County, for the Redwood River, a tributary of the Minnesota River.

Sunday’s high in the area hard-hit by snow will be just above freezing, with sunny skies, the Weather Service said, and more rain and sleet are expected in the area on Monday.

In the Twin Cities, Sunday will be mostly sunny, with a high near 43. Monday and Tuesday will be rainy, but no snow is expected in the metro area those days.

By Wednesday, metro area skies will be mostly sunny, with a high near 50.

But stay tuned. March still has another week to go, and April always begins with — well, April 1.

Never rule out snow in April, forecasters have repeatedly cautioned.


Staff writers Pamela Miller and Kelly Smith contributed to this report.